As 2012 draws to a close, many people begin to consider ways to ring in the New Year and resolutions they want to make about the year to come.
As you think about the promises you want to make for yourself in the coming year, our Oakland Park injury attorneys urge you to consider making a safe driving resolution. By resolving to be a safer driver, you could potentially avoid an accident that could take your life or the lives of others on the road.
Fortunately, becoming a safer driver doesn’t have to be hard and should be a resolution that you can actually stick to. In order to get you started on the path to fulfilling your resolution, we’re offering a four part series on New Years safe driving. We’ve already discussed speeding and will discuss pedestrian and bicycle accidents in the future, but today we are focusing on distracted driving.
Distracted Driving is a Major Risk for Florida Drivers
Distracted driving has become a major public health problem. According to Distraction.gov:
- 3,092 people in the United States were killed in 2010 because of distracted driving crashes
- A full 18 percent of all of the injury-causing crashes in 2010 were reported to involve distracted driving
- Young people are at the greatest risk of distracted driving accidents. 11 percent of all drivers age 20 or under who were in fatal accidents were distracted at the time of the wreck.
- A full 40 percent of all teenagers who responded to a Pew survey reported that they had been in the car with someone who was using a cell phone in a dangerous manner while driving
- Drivers who are distracted by hand-held devices when they are driving have a four times greater risk of becoming involved in an injury crash than if they had not been using the hand held device
- The risk of a crash when texting and driving is 23 times greater than the risk of a crash when not driving
- When you are driving and using a cellular phone, the amount of brain energy that is devoted to driving declines by 37 percent. Using a headset instead of just holding your phone is not necessarily any safer or any less of a distraction.
These statistics highlight just how risky it is to make the choice to drive when you are distracted. Florida crash data from 2010 also highlights the risk. In 2010, seven fatal crashes were reported as involving distracted driving. Another 1,474 crashes that caused injury were described as distracted driving related.
Distraction.gov also points out that when you text and drive, your eyes are off of the road for around 4.6 seconds. During this time, if you were going 55 miles per hour, you’d drive far enough to span a full football field all without looking at the road.
Avoiding a Distracted Driving Crash
To make sure you do not fall victim to one of the thousands of distracted driving crashes that occur each year, you should make the commitment today that you will not drive when distracted. This means resolving not to talk on your cell phone, text, enter info into your GPS, reach for items on the floor of your car, or otherwise focus on things other than driving when you are behind the wheel. If you have teenagers who drive, you should also talk to them about how dangerous distracted driving is so that they will not make a risky choice.
Avoiding distracted driving is one key step to becoming a safer driver. Avoiding speeding and avoiding pedestrian or bike crashes are also top ways to avoid becoming a car accident victim in 2013. Check back for the rest of our four part New Years safe driving series to learn more about how to make safe driving a priority.
Freeman & Mallard is a personal injury and wrongful death law firm dedicated to helping those who have been injured in auto accidents. Call today for a free consultation. 1-800-561-7777.
Seat Belt Usage Up — Still Thousands Killed in Accidents, South Florida Injury Lawyers Blog, November 30, 2012.